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BRITISH BOTANICAL GARDENS IN THE 1980s:
CHANGES REFLECTED BY BIBLIOGRAPHICAL
AND SOCIAL SURVEY
Enid Constance Gilberthorpe
Thesis submitted fox' the degree of PhD
University of Sheffield Division of Education
List of Contents :1.
List of Illustrations 111
I INTRODUCTION: AIMS AND SCOPE
2 KEY DOCUMENTS 27
3 PLANTS FOR TEACHING, AND FOR RESEARCH: 42
teaching of botany; supplies of plant
material; research into taxonomy;
ECONOMIC BOTANY - plants with domestic 57
and medicinal uses and of commercial
HORTICULTURE: the acquisition and 74
cultivation of plants in botanical
AMENITY: plants for pleasure and
PUBLIC INFORMATION AND EDUCATION ilk
SERVICES; PUBLIC RECREATION FACILITIES
CONSERVATION: wild and cultivated
plants in danger
BOTANICAL GARDENS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC;
GUIDES TO THE GARDENS - PRINTED
PUBLICITY; ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE
FUNCTIONS OF GARDENS - THE PROBLEM
SHEFFIELD BOTANICAL GARDENS
BOTANICAL GARDENS IN BRITISH 'TWINNED'
TOWNS - ANY INTERACTION WITH THEIR
PUBLIC VIEWS ON BOTANICAL GARDENS -
A SAMPLE SURVEY
GARDENS NOW AND IN THE FUTURE -
(between pages 219 and 220)
1. Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden: Rock Garden
2. Kew Royal Botanic Gardens: Palm House with
3. Westonbirt Arboretum (Forestry Commission):
the memorial sarsen stone on Mitchell Drive.
L&. Cambridge University Botanic Garden: [view of
Garden shown on front of folding leaflet].
5. Ness Gardens (University of Liverpool): a late
summer scene in the Heather Garden.
6. Oxford University Botanic Gardens: The Botanic
Garden as figured in Loggan's Oxonia Illustrata, 1675.
7. Glasgow Botanic Gardens: Tree ferns.
8. Sheffield Botanical Gardens: Sheffield Botanical
I wish to acknowledge my gratitude to Professor
A. J. Willis, whose constant help and encouragement as
supervisor and whose advice have been invaluable
throughout this work.
My thanks are also due to Professor W. H. G.
Armytage, whose enthusiasm for the subject was an
important stimulus; his guidance as supervisor during
the first stage was much appreciated.
The support of former colleagues was very welcome;
they included especially Mr. R. F. Atkins, then Director Seji6L C2j
of1Libraries, who gave permission for the sample survey
of' staff views on botanical gardens. He also allowed
access to weekly batches of new books on approval at the
Central Library, a useful aid in the compilation of
bibliographical material. Thanks are due to members of
the Library staff who completed the questionnaire and who
helped regularly with reference information over several
Sincere thanks are also extended to many professionals,
horticulturists and others, especially those who responded
to the questionnaire on 'town twinning schemes. In
addition to other directors and curators of' gardens who
supplied information, I am particularly grateful for the
valuable assistance of' Mr. A. L. Winning, then Director of
Sheffield Recreation Department, who provided much horticultural
The generosity of Mr. G. Sheringham in allowing
access to the questionnaires returned to him during his
preparation of the series of articles for GC & HTJ
magazine is acknowledged with thanks.
Mrs. Anne Carroll and Mr. Tom Sleight, of
Lockwoods florists shops,have given helpful information
on growing wild flowers in gardens, included in Chapter 8.
In a topic which is partly of a social nature,
assistance from many acquaintances in different localities
has been very helpful. In their willing contributions to
discussions, they have confirmed the view that much value
is attached by the conununity to gardens in general and to
botanical gardens in particular.
I thank Miss Barbara Waugh for some typing and other
assistance, and Mrs. Ruth Barker for typing this thesis.
Copyright of illustrations is acknowledged as
Cambridge University Botanic Gardens,
Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden,
Glasgow Botanic Gardens,
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens,
Ness Gardens (University of Liverpool),
Oxford University Botanic Gardens,
Sheffield Botanical Gardens,
Westonbirt Arboretum (Forestry Commission).
BRITISH BOTANICAL GARDENS IN THE 1980s:
CHANGES REFLECTED BY BIBLIOGRAPHICAl.
AND SOCIAL SURVEY
British botanical gardens in the 1980s represent
the latest stage in their long history dating
from the Middle Ages. Origins lie in different
types of institution: religious; academic;
economic; amateur; scientific; and municipal.
This diversity explains the variety of modern
institutions involved with gardens, which may
be recognized in four categories: state;
university; local authority; and private
(2) The relationship of the gardens to the community
is central to this study. Emphasis is placed
on public views of them. (A small sample survey
was conducted to obtain the ideas of the public
about their functions.)
(3) A questionnaire was sent to relevant gardens,
enquiring about possible international relation-
ships based on European twinning schemes.
(p1) Many influences are seen to contribute to the
substantial changes evident in the activities
of British botanical gardens today. New
developments are considered, e.g. increased
leisure and consequent need for recreation
activities; transport facilities; influence
of the mass media, especially television;
conservation schemes; and current financial
stringency. Some scientific advances (e.g.
micropropagation) and technical progress (e.g.
labour-saving machinery) are mentioned.
(5) Six main functions of the gardens are identified
and considered in detail: teaching and research;
economic botany; horticulture; amenity; public
in.iormation arid education services, public
recreation facilities; and conservation. The
functions are reviewed in relation to overlap
with those of other modern institutions (e.g.
research stations), and other types of garden.
(6) Sheffield Botanical Gardens - seen in their
historical context - provide a good example of
change affecting a nineteenth-century institution
adapted to the 1980s. The Gardens' importance
to the local community is assessed from informal
(7) A bibliography of non-specialized material is
included. Most chapters contain a literature
section with notes on important published
(8) Findings include: the contribution, uniquely
made by academic botanical gardens, to teaching
and research; the importance in all the
gardens of public information and education
services and recreation facilities; the
significance of conservation activities within
a national and international framework.
ENID CONSTANCE QILBERTHORPE
INTRODUCTION: AIMS AND SCOPE
British botanical gardens are now at an exciting
stage in their long development. During past centuries
they have carried out different functions at various
times. The purpose of the present study is to examine
the functions which they now serve, to consider the
different aspects of their work in the light of modern
social conditions and to assess the continuing importance
of their place in the life of the country, as seen from
the point of view of the community.
All the main activities within gardens are discussed,
but special emphasis is given to those functions which
are connected with amenity, public information, and
recreation, and to the very important part which botanical
gardens may play in conserving wild and garden plants.
Aims of the investigation
These may be summarized as follows:
a) To identify and describe the various functions
(and priorities) of different categories of
contemporary botanical gardens of Great B